WATCH: “The architect told us to be careful, as the building will come down sooner or later” – resident living next door to construction site
The recent collapse of buildings in Mellieha and Guardamangia has not just affected the persons involved, but also other families who live in fear because of works being carried out in close proximity.
One of these families is the Galea family of Sliema, whose home adjoins a construction site in Parisio Street where excavation which has been ongoing for nearly six months has already been carried out to a number of storeys below road level.
George Galea showed us the fissures which he said had appeared as a result of the excavation. “All over the house, especially down here and where I have the kitchen and bathroom, and cracks have appeared even there. I have told the contractor several times about this problem, but he doesn’t want to know, and has continued excavating. The contractor is supposed to have excavated up to a distance of two feet from our home. He has excavated right up to it, that is against the law, and he has ignored it. What can I do?” Galea asked. “And I have the same situation here. Since they started excavating, the gap widened, one quarter, one half, three quarters. Look how far it has opened. I pointed this out to the foreman when he was here, and he told me it was nothing. It’s always nothing, and it continues to grow.”
Mr Galea added that as a result of excavations the well had developed a crack, and had now run dry. He further stated that although the contractor had strengthened the rock foundations under George’s home with iron rods, the building still moved. Even the sewage pipes had sustained fractures, and up to some days ago he had ended up with sewage in his yard. “You can actually see it up there. I had to repair it. I told the contractor, he told me he would come over and repair it. He’s always telling me that, but he never came.”
Other neighbours who spoke with Dissett told us the contractor had repaired some damage. In the case of Mr Galea and his other neighbours, the contractor has not done anything so far, and they live in fear.
“On one occasion a supervisor, who is one step down from the foreman, told me not to stay in the yard if possible. I replied, querying why I shouldn’t stay in the yard. I am very upset that they have caused all this damage, and I don’t know what will happen from now on. The whole building could come down with us inside.” Asked whether he was in danger, Mr Galea replied: “Tell me what I should do. I keep several birds on the roof, which I have to feed. I have two hunting dogs which I have to take out. Where can I go? I have nowhere to go.”
With his back to the wall, Mr Galea filed a report at the Police Station as he couldn’t stand the situation any longer, and even because of his wife’s situation, as she has to spend several hours every day on an oxygenator.
“I went to the Police Station, not just myself, even the neighbours. Do you know what the Police told me? Involve an architect, and then the architect will handle matters. The architect told me to be careful, as it will come down sooner or later, the bathroom and the upstairs kitchen,” Mr Galea said.
Whilst Mr Galea has no clue what steps he can take, some of his neighbours have fled the scene to avoid the danger. “When this work started, one of the neighbours went into a Home, the other has gone to stay with her daughter, and the one on the corner went to her sister as she refuses to remain here because she has been told not to stay either over the yard and not even on the other side, as it will come down sooner or later,” Mr Galea said.
This service will be shown on Dissett, during which guests will explain what remedies and safeguards are available at law. Dissett will be broadcast tonight after the news bulletin.